Featured

Winter Recap and Spring TBR

Winter was a big time for me in the realm of literature! Two major releases, (and in my case, eagerly anticipated preorders), a few Litsy-inspired reads and now lots of good TBR books for this spring! First and foremost, The Wicked King and Out Of The Dark were both released within a month of each other. You can read about my experience with Gregg Hurwitz here. The Wicked King was one of my most anticipated releases for the whole year, so I was super glad to finish out the Modern Faerie Tale series too, in the last month, more on that later in the post. I also continued with a series I started during my brief experience with a Postal Markup Book Club, which was so exciting! If you’ve never heard of such a thing (as I hadn’t), it’s a by-mail book club consisting of four or more readers who each choose a book and mail them one at a time once a month to the next person on the list while reading and annotating the book themselves. It was super exciting and it introduced me to The Keeper Of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan and Zodiac by Romina Russell, which have both come to be two of my favorite books! Without further ado, let’s get onto the specifics of what I’ve been reading this winter and what I’ll be reading this spring!

The Wicked King – Holly Black

This book, y’all. I flew through it. I adore Jude and Cardan, even though Cardan is more or less an unremorseful bastard, I can’t get enough of them together! The Folk Of The Air series is a gritty, dark continuation of the faerie universe she started creating with Tithe and she’s tying everything together so nicely! This is one of my favorite things about Holly Black, she fits her characters and separate stories together so seamlessly. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for Queen of Nothing next year!

Out Of The Dark – Gregg Hurwitz

Mr. Hurwitz has certainly done it again, in a fantastic, emotionally-charged climax to the series thus far. I know the series isn’t over because he told us himself it would be at least five books and more if he had anything to say about it, but I’m so interested to see where he takes it from here now that things are more or less wrapped up from the last three volumes. I saw on his facebook recently that he was studying lockpicking! He does so much intense research so that he can write in the details, I really admire his commitment to Evan as a character and the story as a whole. I certainly would not step into the ring with an MMA fighter for the sake of attention to detail, so props to you, Gregg darling.

Lost In A Book – Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly is a new author for me, I’ve seen her around but I haven’t actually read anything by her until I received a Beauty And The Beast spin-off in a Litsy swap with a super sweet Litten (you can see everything else I got in that swap here) and I could not have been more excited to start reading that book, I picked it up almost immediately! I had a lot of trouble focusing on the paper book, as I do, so about a week ago I checked out the audio digitally from Houston Public Library and I adored it. It is based on the live-action remake and not the original story, so there are a few subtle differences in character and story that would be confusing if you’ve only seen the original but I highly recommend it either way. A great cozy winter fluff read for fairy-tale lovers such as myself!

The Keeper Of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

This one was admittedly hard for me to get into. I loved the book and the characters but it was very hard to keep focused and I ended up taking a little longer than the month allotted to read it. When I finally broke down and bought the audiobook, I fell into the story head first and it was fantastic! Sunny and Laura and Freddy are some of my favorite characters, hands down. You can really feel the spirit of the house, Padua, in the book. I didn’t even know who Al Bowlly was before but “The Very Thought Of You” has been remade so many times, I was able to find a version I really liked as great immersive background music. (hint hint: it’s Michael Buble)

Valiant – Holly Black

I saved this one for last because this series means so much to me, as you guys may already know. I had never read Valiant before. I picked up Tithe at around 11 or 12 years old from a secondhand shop in my hometown and devoured it. When I saw a sequel on the shelves a while later, I excitedly snatched it up to read the dust jacket and discovered to my abject horror that Roiben and Kaye were nowhere to be found! I was aghast and I put it back down, annoyed that I’d gotten excited over nothing. It would be several years before I picked up Ironside and listened rapturously to find out what happened to my beloved Roiben and Kaye. A few weeks ago, as I was looking through my audiobooks for a well-loved comfort read I came across Tithe and remembered I’d been meaning to read Valiant for years and still hadn’t gotten around to it so I checked it out from my local eLibrary and FINALLY read it. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think it was as good as the Tithe/Ironside side of Modern Faerie Tale but in its own right it was a very good book. I also don’t think this would have been an appropriate read for me at age 11 as there are a few gritty subjects such as a drug called Never which is something like magical heroin. That would have sailed right over my head at such an age but all in all, I did enjoy the story and I feel like I understand Luis and Dave much better now. I will say, I did not enjoy the switch in narrators. I felt that she made everyone sound too child-like. It was hard to remember these are all teens between 16-19 and not actual children living in the recesses of New York City, shooting up Never every other day. Definitely glad I filled in all the holes in Dave and Luis’s backstory and SUPER glad I was able to finally meet this Ravus I’ve heard so much about on Tumblr, what a sweetheart!

Now, onto my TBR for spring! I’m hoping to continue some series that I just haven’t had the time or motivation to do so thus far and start some that I’ve heard so many rave reviews about! We’ll start with what I’m actually reading right now and move on from there to what I’m anticipating in the coming spring months. My sister has just recently started getting back into reading so I anticipate a lot of days spent outside on the patio in the cool weather (while it lasts) reading and watching our niece run around the back yard.

Wandering Star – Romina Russell

This is a series I started during the Litsy Postal Markup Book Club and I adored Zodiac! It was the first book I was sent and I annotated the crap out of that copy! Rhoma Grace is a formidable character, even if she sometimes doesn’t think so. I certainly would not have felt equipped to run off and save not only my world but 11 others as well! She is constantly invalidated and pushed aside by the same people who promoted her to Guardian in the first place but she’s so determined, it’s so inspiring to me. I’m thoroughly enjoying Wandering Star so far but I am a little bummed that Black Moon isn’t out in audio! I don’t want to have to wait and I’m not sure I can do the ebook but I’ll certainly try! This is another narrator I’m not absolutely crazy about. I’m getting used to her but she reminds me a lot of another narrator I’ve listened to who read River’s End by Nora Roberts and I find myself hearing Noah from River’s End as Hysan! Speaking of Hysan, what an absolute dreamboat. I was definitely #TeamMathias at first but given certain “events” (no spoilers!) I’ve probably permanently switched sides. Besides, what kind of Libra would I be if I didn’t support Hysan?

Eldest – Christopher Paolini

That’s right, I still haven’t read the second book yet. Whoops. It should be on loan from the library after a 2-week hold! I’ll probably have it within the week in audio and I can get started ASAP. My dad really liked the movie (I haven’t seen it yet) but he doesn’t read so I’m excited to read Eldest and discuss it with him.

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – Stephen King

My best friend’s fiance has been harassing me to read this forever! It’s one of his favorite series and I confess to not being a huge Stephen King fan so I’m excited to try something new! It’s part fantasy, part sci-fi and part western so I’m hoping for some serious Firefly vibes! Here’s hoping. Speaking of Firefly…

Firefly: Big Damn Hero – Nancy Holder

I FINALLY watched Firefly and Serenity! My dad and brother have been on me to watch it for years and I finally made it all the way through, after gaining access to a friend’s Plex server. Now I’m on the hunt for cute novelty shirts for my niece that say “No power in the ‘verse can stop me” and “I aim to misbehave.” I will find them! Add a link in the comments if you find them before I do and I’ll love you forever ❤ Back on topic, I was stoked to hear that they’d be releasing three cannon Firefly books in 2018-19; I love Mal something fierce. The Magnificent Nine released on March 19th so I’ll even have a sequel to switch right to after I finish which is a very big deal for me as I tend to lose interest if I don’t have an immediate sequel available. Last, but certainly not least…

The Magicians – Lev Grossman

Let me tell y’all, I don’t watch much TV. Like, at all. I don’t have the attention span for it and I wholeheartedly resent being harassed to watch things but I binged TF out of this show and immediately started looking for the source material. Lo and behold, it’s inspired by a series! I have this on hold at the library but as Houston Public Library services all of Texas, it may have to be a summer/fall read because the wait is over 4 months! T_T I WILL listen to it though, and report back! Q is adorable, Eliot and Margo are always getting themselves (and/or others) into something, Julia and Alice are frankly… not my favorite but that’s a post for another day. Penny and Kady are one of my many OTPs ❤

That about wraps up my (hopeful) spring reads for 2019! What are y’all reading this spring? Tell me in the comments!

Featured

February & March Swap Haul

The past two months were full of Litsy swaps! (If you’re unfamiliar with Litsy, you can read more about it here.) Honestly, at times I felt like I had taken on too many but I loved each of them so much I just kept it up. I got and sent out a ton of cool stuff the past two months and I’d love to show you guys what all I got! I may actually have a bookshelf tour for you guys soon, something I had previously refused to do since I had no real bookshelf to speak of due to the number of audiobooks I consume in favor of paper books. My bookshelf is now close to teeming with YA novels, creepy tales and a single Harlequin Blaze that I picked up at Goodwill out of pure nostalgia for my early teen years. 😉 Without further ado, let’s get on to my very first swap ever, #MugLove!

#MugLove
Open date: February 1st

Photo Apr 08, 5 03 07 PM

This swap was sent to me by a super sweet girl from Louisiana around Mardi Gras, and BOY was I excited about that D20 mug! I gotta say, my favorite things in that swap were the Harry Potter pen, the cup and the super sweet Alice in Wonderland paper clips! ❤ I loved this swap a lot and how could she have possibly known how much I love Ferrero Rocher?

#MyBloodyValentine
Open date: February 14th (just not for me!)

My Valentine’s Day swap was a bit of a bummer initially. My swap ghosted me (no hard feelings!) and at the last minute, a very sweet Litten that was running the swap arranged for a replacement. About a week later, I got this!

Photo Apr 08, 5 02 58 PM

I was so overwhelmed by the generosity of this lady! I alternate drinking my coffee and tea out of the Raven mug and the D20 from #MugLove! And THAT TEA BALL. I squealed out loud when I saw it! You can’t see it from the picture but that copy of The Rules Of Magic is SIGNED. ❤ I adored this package, I was so excited about it when I saw it next to the mailbox!

I thought surely that would be it but about a week after that, I got a box in the mail with an international shipping label on it. Obviously confused because I didn’t have a swap due, I saw that it had #LitsyLove written on the box and opened it up to find this, all the way from Italy!

Photo Apr 08, 5 02 56 PM

Let me tell you, that German chocolate is some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had and I immediately set to work reading that book! This sweet Litten sent me a second package for Valentine’s Day! Thanks so much to both of them for being my replacement Valentines! ❤

#BookAndABlanketSwap
Open date: March 9th

I was SUPER excited about this swap, mostly because I adore blankets. And lemme tell you, this lovely lady delivered. The blanket I received has a permanent place on my bed A.) because it’s soft AF and B.) because it’s PURPLE. 😀 On open day, I pulled this out of the box!

Photo Apr 08, 5 47 15 PM

I have never even seen one of those book holders before but it’s super cool! It currently resides in my kitchen to hold open cookbooks but at some point, I’ll probably take it back from my mom and use it to knit and read at the same time. I’m about halfway through The Name Of The Wind and I’m totally digging it! More on that in my April recap at the end of the month.

#FeedAReader
Open date: March 31

I was stoked for this swap, obviously because I love food and I got a wonderful knodel recipe from a super cool German Litten. However, when I opened the box…

Photo Apr 08, 5 02 15 PM

YES. THAT IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. A HOGWARTS WAX SEAL KIT. Y’all, I about peed my pants when I opened that little gray box and found this thing. Hands down, one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten in a swap! I can’t wait to make that knodel and I hope she makes the Texas sheet cake I sent her in her Texas-themed box so I can see it! I haven’t started The Bone Witch yet but it’s definitely on my TBR for April or May! Speaking of Hogwarts, though…

#PotterheadSwap
Open date: April 1st (Happy Birthday, Fred and George!)
As an avid Potterhead myself, I straight up could not skip this one. I just couldn’t. Now, I have to tell you a little story to explain something I got in this swap. #FeedAReader and #PotterheadSwap open dates were just a day apart. Therefore, those of us doing both were prepping for both in the weeks preceding the swaps. At some point, before I sent mine off, I commented on a post by what I thought was my FeedAReader match saying that her box would be on its way soon and “Hope you like pasta!” because I had found Texas shaped pasta at Kroger that I was about to go pick up for my match’s Texas-themed food box. An hour or so went by and as I was looking in my email for information about my matches, I realized I had commented on the post of my Potterhead match. I cleared up the confusion and jokes were made about pasta being a weird thing to send in a Potterhead swap. On the 1st, I opened this:

Photo Apr 08, 5 02 06 PM

I laughed so hard at that box of mac and cheese. It’s even funnier because I had already thrown a bag of Texas pasta in her box as a gag gift and a nod to the whole weird exchange. 😀 I really enjoyed this box, and my two-year-old niece enjoyed half my pocky and even some of that chili chocolate. I’m about halfway through Lost In A Book, which I had never even heard of but I am in love with it. I can’t wait to start A Darker Shade of Magic and color in my little postcards! Seriously, such a great box!

That’s it for February and March! Upcoming in May and June, I have #KeychainSwap, #KingsAndQueensSwap, and #SockSwap! I’m super excited!

Tell me in the comment your favorite item! Do you do Litsy swaps or any other kind of swap? Let me know in the comments!

Love,
Kadie

swaphaulpinterest

Featured

Why I Love Litsy

whyilovelitsy

For those of you that are not Litsy users yourselves, I have great news! I assume that if you’re part of my regular viewership, you like books. I can’t believe I didn’t find this app sooner. Litsy is frequently described as “if Goodreads and Bookstagram had a baby” and what a completely accurate description of the place. For those of you yet unaware of the app, it’s a buzzing, bookish social network where every post is centered on a book and there are reviews and other self-described “Littens” aplenty! I first joined Litsy when I saw a post about it in the Page Habit facebook group, and I have never looked back. Here are just a few of the numerous reasons that I adore Litsy!

1. The Community

I do not exaggerate when I say that this may be the single most welcoming and sweet community I’ve joined thus far in my 26 years of life. Allow me to get a little emotional here, I joined Litsy sometime around late November, early December. Since joining, I have met upward of 20+ individual wonderful people that I now feel justified in calling my friends and there are countless more acquaintances that I just haven’t gotten the chance to get to know yet. When I say that I absolutely adore these lovely humans, I mean it. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Instant Contact With Other Bibliophiles That Share Your Interests

There are a thousand posts for every genre/topic. Do you like biographies? Angsty scene kid poetry reminiscent of your high school days? True crime or horror? And lord have mercy, if you like YA Fantasy, you will find yourself swimming in a TBR pile taller than you are. (More on that in a minute) No matter what you like, you will find a mini-community of sweet Littens waiting for you to fangirl/boy with for the rest of your days. (And if you happen to enjoy Dungeons and Dragons or Forgotten Realms, please join all three of us, we need more geeks!) Trust me. Your shelving will hate you for this. Speaking of shelves…

3.) Swaps! ALL THE SWAPS.

Coffee cup swaps, horror-themed Valentine’s Day swaps, Harry Potter swaps! I personally just sent off a Book and a Blanket Swap to a very sweet fellow southerner! I put as much pink Easter grass in it as I could fit because her favorite color is pink and I’m obnoxious like that. Upcoming around the end of March/beginning of April. I have a #FeedAReader swap and a #potterheadswap to send out too! The swaps on Litsy may actually be my favorite thing. I love gift giving, I always have. I live for Christmas and birthday shopping. So, you’re telling me I get to buy not only a gift for someone but I get to fill a box full of bookish things and then get to open one too?! Sold. Be sure to look out for an upcoming swap haul post where I show everything (not just books!) I’ve acquired from my various swaps! ❤

Somehow I get the feeling that I’ve communicated my love for Litsy enough, but just in case you aren’t totally convinced, feel free to come see for yourself and follow me at @blithebuoyant! ❤ You’ll see!

Which social network do you use to get your bookish social fix? Where do you find like-minded and similarly interested people? Let me know in the comments!

With Love,
Kadie

Featured

March TBR

20120897_10157160333714838_639260198_n

Happy March my lovelies! I’ve been slow about it but here’s my very first TBR post so that y’all can hold me fully accountable for my book challenge this year! Seriously though. I’m determined to #readmyshelf this year so that 2019 can be the year of new things! Here’s the lineup that I’ve got for this month!

Week 1: The Ghost King: Transitions, Book III am reading by R.A. Salvatore am reading and The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) have read by Holly Black have read

It’s been a long road for me with the Transitions trilogy, really. For several reasons, it took me a full year to get just the first book read. For those of you who read or have read the series, you know that The Orc King is basically the conclusion to all of the orc troubles and we’re fresh out of the constant tragedy and heartbreak of The Hunter’s Blades. I’ve touched on this before, but between losing one of my closest friends who introduced me to the books, the barrage of deaths, near-deaths, and injuries to my favorite characters and the general hopelessness of the prior three books, I wasn’t jumping to read Transitions at all and gave serious thought to putting down the series entirely. Another problem I had was the narrator. Most of you know that for the past few years I’ve been almost exclusively doing Audible and all of a sudden with the Transitions series, they switched narrators. Mark Bramhall is a fabulous narrator but when you’ve spent two years hearing and getting used to the characters in the voice of Victor Bevine, to say nothing of Mr. Bramhall’s unique pronunciation of certain words, it throws you off something fierce. Not only was I wholeheartedly resentful of them switching narrators on me, but I wasn’t really in love with the way Mark Bramhall was narrating my second favorite series in my entire library. The books are entirely too close to my heart for me to enjoy the sudden switch and as a result, it’s taken me over a year to get through the three books. I’m getting used to it, but I won’t lie to y’all, I’ll be glad to get Victor Bevine back for The Neverwinter Saga.

On a completely unrelated note, I FINALLY got my hands on The Cruel Prince. I only started working my way through it last night at work so I’m only about three hours in but I’m already in love with Jude and I don’t even totally hate her surrogate father. I’m definitely excited for a whole new series! I love Holly Black, and I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing about her so I won’t go into detail in this post but holy crapola I’m excited about more books in this series and I’m barely 1/4 way through the first.

Week 2: Gauntlgrym by R.A. Salvatore and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I just finished Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard at work last week or the week before and I must say, for most of the book I was pretty unimpressed. It seemed like a not-so-subtle copycat of The Hunger Games to me, and I still partially consider it so. However, good grief that twist ending. I won’t spoil it! But it made me want to read that sequel ASAP so as soon as I finish The Cruel Prince, I will be moving on to Glass Sword post haste!

Week 3: Neverwinter – R.A. Salvatore and Eldest (Inheritance Cycle, Book 2) by Christopher Paolini

You can find a recount of my feelings about Eragon in my earlier 2017 Recap post, but I’m super excited to be continuing the series! I’m so late to the game, everyone feel free to laugh about it. I adore Gerard Doyle; he narrates another one of my grade school favorites, The Looking Glass Wars series by Frank Beddor. I do have a teeny bit of trouble not imagining Hatter and Alyss when he speaks but no worries! I’ll have four books to get used to it 🙂

Week 4: Mage Strike (The Enslaved Chronicles Book 2) – R.K. Thorne and The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality, Book 2) by Jack Campbell

I’ve spoken about both of these in my recap but I’m psyched to continue both of these series! Eeee!

There it is, folks. My March TBR! What’s on your TBR for the month? What are you currently reading? Drop your current favorites in the comments!

With Love,
Kadie

Top 3 Childhood Reads

Like many of you, my love for reading started young. In fact, at my grandparents’ house, there is a home video of me somewhere around three or four years old opening presents on Christmas morning and as I open a particularly large, heavy box, I squeal “MAMA IT’S BOOKS. SANTA BROUGHT ME BOOKS!” Fun fact: I still do that when I open up a wrapped book. I read almost constantly as a child, to the extent that it became an actual problem and a few times, I had to be grounded from my precious pages. I would love to experience that again, the joy and wonder of discovering my favorite stories for the first time, staying up all night and waking up snuggling my copy of Goblet of Fire when my mother woke me up for school a mere three or four hours after I’d finally fallen asleep with my face in its pages. It’s such a magical feeling, finding your first favorite author and your first fantasy world. Today I thought I’d take you through my childhood, up through my teens in my favorite books! Classics, guilty pleasures, silly rhymes and all, they have all become a part of me over the years.

#1 – The Gammage Cup: A Novel of the Minnipins by Carol Kendall

This was actually my very first fantasy book ever even before Harry Potter. I must have picked this up when I was barely 6 or 7 and I have since passed it on to my brother and hope to read it to his daughter as well. I adored this book and I read it over and over until it fell apart. It tells the story of a tiny race called the Minnipins who must defend their home from the Mushrooms. It’s wonderfully silly and it was a huge joy for me to read as a child.

#2 – Dreadful Sorry by Kathryn Reiss

I must have checked this book out of my middle school library 20 or 30 times in two years, I was obsessed. Not quite fantasy, not quite time travel, more like paranormal fiction without the annoying tropes. A high school student is facing the threat of not graduating with her class if she can’t pass the swim test, as she’s terrified of water. Due to an unfortunate series of events, she ends up hiding out in her father and stepmother’s new house in Maine and discovers that the house has a creepy secret relevant to her phobia. I recently read through this again and could almost feel the old excitement I felt when I read it in 7th grade.

#3 – Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black

I’ve always loved faeries. Since I was a child, I have been all about them. I collect ceramic faeries actually and when Disney started releasing Tinkerbell movies, I was stoked even though I was already well into adulthood when the first movie was released. This book I’ve spoken about briefly before but I wanted to mention it here because it was hands down, my favorite childhood fantasy series. It isn’t necessarily child-level because of some of the more mature themes surrounding Kaye but I digress. As I’ve said before, I picked this up at a used bookstore in my hometown I wanna say the summer of ’03, maybe? I fell in love immediately. My tween self was enamored with Kaye and Roiben and I SO desperately wanted to be best friends with Janet and Corny. Even after I finished the book, I would go back and read the first time Kaye enters the Unseelie Court under the hill and imagine me into the story, drinking mushroom wine from a glass made of ice and dancing with a hob in a pale green or dark blue dress made of what looks to be starlight. I haven’t read The Cruel Prince yet, that’s on the March TBR but I’m looking forward to it! In short, this was a huge part of my childhood literary journey and it’s definitely what sparked my love of YA fantasy for sure.

There you have it! These books all helped to shape me, to teach me, and to help me escape in a corner of my school library year after year, I have laughed and cried immersed in these pages more than once and I have still come out on the other side wanting to dive in again.

Love,

Kadie

childhoodreads

Book Signing and Vodka Tasting With Gregg Hurwitz!

So, I branched out back in 2016. I read my first Crime Fiction/Thriller/007 type book. And I fell hopelessly in love with Evan Smoak, as I’m sure everyone else did when Orphan X released and we got to meet the scared but still tough 12-year-old boy and then the deadly AF grown man who grew out of that boy with the help of his handler, Jack. I blew through Orphan X in a matter of days and then bought my brother a copy, which was left untouched for almost two years (the bastard). I pre-ordered The Nowhere Man as soon as it was available for pre-order on Audible and tore through that one too. A few months ago when I heard about the third book in the series, I immediately began shamelessly stalking Gregg Hurwitz’s social media accounts in the hopes that I’d get a release date. While scrolling through one day two months ago, I wondered aloud if there would be a book tour and did a quick search and to my absolute delight, there was to be a BOOK SIGNING AND VODKA TASTING at Half Price Books Dallas on the first. I was STOKED. I ran into the living room and informed my brother that we were going. My brother had just finished Orphan X and we were hunting all over the place for a physical copy of The Nowhere Man to take to the signing so we would have the whole set signed. I found exactly ONE copy at a Half Price Books an hour and away and one night before work we drove to pick up the book I had put on hold.

I’m happy to say the signing was a success, at least from my perspective. Gregg was a great dude, super funny, very personable. Additionally, the vodka was great. One of my favorite things about the series is the branding, Hurwitz gives just enough detail about Evan’s alcohol, equipment and accessories to add flavor but not so much that you feel like you’re being trained in gunsmithing or armory or fancy watch fobs. DASH vodka was mentioned in the later parts of The Nowhere Man, an organic wheat and raisin vodka made here in Texas that Evan particularly likes. It’s super good, I tried some (even being allergic to most vodka) and it didn’t make me itchy at all. Win-win!

As for Hurwitz himself, although I’m still salty about him breaking my heart at the end of Hellbent (which I just finished this morning *sob sob*), was a great speaker and an even better conversationalist. He told us a super sweet story about the close friend that was the inspiration for Tommy, Evan’s weapons expert and resident gruff badass. He mentioned the film rights and Bradley Cooper (EEEEE!), we were slow to ask questions at first but we did all warm up toward the middle. My brother expressed interest in custom building Evan’s Wilson Combat 1911, which I really can’t wait to see and it may be said here that he is gathering information and a definitive part list as we speak (seriously though, he’s in the living room right now trying to decide on a 4.25 or a 5 frame)

All in all, the signing was great, Hurwitz was great, the vodka was great too. Unfortunately, my toolbag brother announced to the whole event that I don’t like George Orwell, so I’m pretty sure I’ll never be allowed in that HPB ever again.

What is your favorite Thriller/Crime Fiction novel? Have you read the Orphan X series yet? Drop your answers in the comments!

With love,
Kadie

hellbent

Book vs Movie P1 – Gone With The Wind

We all know the jokes about mediocre (or worse) movie adaptations. You’ve heard the comments too, I’m sure. “Did you see that movie? It didn’t do the book justice! I have much better ideas about this than the director who is being paid for his years of success and expertise!” I’m paraphrasing but you get the idea; I’m guilty of it too, as you’ll see further down. People aren’t fond of them. This is the first post in a series on the subject that I hope to continue in future posts. Now, Gone With the Wind is one of my favorite movies of all time. I do not watch movies, and I especially do not watch four hour long ones but I’ll sit down and watch Gone With The Wind with a cup of coffee and my knitting needles without hesitation, at any time. It’s also in my top 5 favorite books, ever. All it took was one read-through when I was 13 and I was in love. I plowed through it for a book report and never looked back; to this day it’s one of my most common “comfort reads” when I’m patiently awaiting an Audible credit or when I just can’t make up my mind what to read. Here I’ll talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of the book vs the movie. Without further ado…

Wade and Ella

The children of Charles and Frank were obviously not in the movie and that’s something I wish they’d included. I know the movie was already long but I always felt like not only did Wade humanize Rhett for us early on, he also made an important point about the effects of war on children. I’m no psychologist but anyone can see that Wade had a mild form of PTSD following the war. Years after the siege that drove Scarlett, Melly, Beau, and Wade out of Atlanta, Wade would run and hide under tables and in closets anytime he heard a sudden, loud noise in addition to having nightmares. Ella wasn’t nearly as developed as a character as she was much younger, but I definitely think at least Wade should have been included in the movie as he was one of my favorite parts of the book.

War Themes

I don’t know about any of you, but the military strategy during the war was one of my favorite pieces. In the movie, we seem a little disconnected from the actual war. It’s always very far away and seemingly irrelevant to the situation at hand, with the exception of the siege and the night Atlanta falls. Scarlett always has something else to worry about, albeit important, the war is always sort of kept at bay. In the book, we are constantly kept up to speed on the progress and current state of affairs connected with the fighting elsewhere, even if the characters are in the dark. Only during letters and the charity ball do we hear anything of the front lines or how the south is faring out there. (more about this further down)

Ashley and Melanie Wilkes

It’s not a secret that my favorite character is Melly and I sort of maybe despise Ashley. Even as a child, I didn’t really care for Ashley that much even if I wasn’t quite clear on why. Of course, now that I’ve read the book in its entirety multiple times and have had time to reflect on Ashley as a character, I know it’s because I think he’s childish, spineless and unable to adapt. Even after Melly’s death, when Scarlett and Ashley are alone she feels overwhelmed at just the idea of dealing with this child for the rest of her life that will need to be taken care of and protected and she longs for her estranged Rhett. That being said, he’s much more so in the book than in the movie. In the book, Ashley’s monologues about the world and his future or lack thereof are much longer, full of “woe is me” moments and just general whiny aristocratic nonsense while the rest of the south is fighting off starvation and extreme poverty, Reconstruction, military rule and all the other lovely aftereffects of a civil war. I will hand it to Ashley, he is very self-aware. He knows what kind of man he is and he is hyperaware of all of his faults.

Melanie is hands down my favorite character. She may actually be my favorite character in any book. I adore how much love she has and her loyalty, if sometimes misplaced, to the people that she holds dear. I looked up to Melly as an adolescent as some would look up to a favorite aunt or a close, older family friend. I always wanted to be like Melly, to have her patience and her grace. Her ladylike sensibilities were never imparted to me via osmosis, no matter how many hours I spent between the pages of this book, but one can only hope. That said, I identify with Melanie more than any other character, Having struggled and still struggling with possible infertility myself, I hurt for her when she longs for another baby and when she decides to risk her own life to give birth a second time, I understand her willingness to, even if I also understand the rest of her family’s reluctance to allow her to follow through with it. I can’t rave enough about Melanie, but I’ll stop there.

Rhett and Scarlett

The differences between Rhett and Scarlett in the book vs the film is what inspired me to write this post in the first place. It really isn’t so much about their relationship, even. I feel like the focus of the story was shifted when the movie was made. I challenge you to go ask someone you know who hasn’t seen the movie what it’s about. I’ll lay you ten to one that they say “romance” or “love” before they say “horrible war that came within a gnat’s ass of destroying the entire country.” This is what bothers me so much about the film. The war is pushed aside, into the background where Scarlett’s numerous marriages (and only one of her children) take the forefront. The entire movie becomes “This badly behaved woman and all the men she marries for spite, money and other wrong reasons.” Why is that? The book is about death and war and the effects of the general populace being goaded into hating each other by orators and politicians who seek to profit from the suffering of the American people. Gone With The Wind is a story of survival against all odds, of one woman doing everything in her power to keep the people she loves alive and in the space of just a few years, becoming a wife, mother, and widow twice and suddenly being responsible for an entire household that she never gave a second thought to before. It’s SO MUCH MORE than just another love story.

Tell me what you think! Drop your opinions in the comments, do you agree or disagree? What are some of your favorite or least favorite movie adaptations?

With Love,
Kadie

GWTWbvm

2018 TBR & Read My Shelf Challenge

Another year, another thousand books I “meant to read.” I do not exaggerate when I say that every single January, I PROMISE myself I’m going to read on some kind of schedule and pack as many books into this brain as I can and every year, I fail miserably at it. This year, I have a list of 52 books and a few extra if I get to them; when I wrote the list I was feeling very productive and ambitious, we’ll see if it lasts until December ’18. Since 2017 was apparently the year of starting series and not finishing them, I’ve got them all on the list. This way, next January, I’ll have a clean slate and in the meantime, I can get you guys some pretty cool reviews on books I should have read a year ago! Fun for all. Here goes!

Mountain Man – Keith C. Blackmore
Mountain Man (Volume 1)
Safari (Mountain Man Book 2)
Hellifax (Mountain Man Book 3)
Well Fed (Mountain Man Book 4)

I was turned on to Blackmore’s post-apocalyptic trilogy by a short story called The Hospital that was free on Audible. I’m not really a post-apocalypse/zombie girl but I totally loved it and I bought the Mountain Man Omnibus an embarrassingly long time ago, I’m probably going to tackle this soon though because I’m super excited about it. and no wait for new books because I bought the whole trilogy with one credit!

The Pillars of Reality – Jack Campbell
The Dragons of Dorcastle (The Pillars of Reality, Book 1) have read
The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality, Book 2)
The Assassins of Altis (The Pillars of Reality, Book 3)
The Pirates of Pacta Servanda (The Pillars of Reality, Book 4)
The Servants of the Storm (The Pillars of Reality, Book 5)
The Wrath of the Great Guilds (The Pillars of Reality, Book 6)

The Legacy Of Dragons – Jack Campbell
Daughter of Dragons (The Legacy of Dragons Book 1)
Blood of Dragons (The Legacy of Dragons Book 2)

This is one of the series I mentioned in my 2017 recap, which you can find here. I’m super excited to read the rest of the series, and The Legacy of Dragons is about their daughter. You may not know that I love second-generation continuations but now you do. ❤

Spells, Swords and Stealth – Drew Hayes
NPCs (Spells, Swords, & Stealth Book 1) have read
Split the Party (Spells, Swords, & Stealth) (Volume 2)
Going Rogue (Spells, Swords, & Stealth) (Volume 3)

NPC’s was super cute and I blew through it really quickly, I loved the double-setting of the D&D game and inside the game, so to speak.

The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini
Eragon (Inheritance Cycle, Book 1) have read
Eldest (Inheritance Cycle, Book 2)
Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, Book 3)
Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4)

Also featured in my recap, I’ve talked about this one enough already. Eldest will definitely be in my February TBR!

Transitions – R.A. Salvatore
The Orc King: Transitions, Book I have read
The Pirate King: Transitions, Book II have read
The Ghost King: Transitions, Book III am reading

The Neverwinter Saga – R.A. Salvatore
Gauntlgrym
Neverwinter
Charon’s Claw
The Last Threshold

The Sundering – R.A. Salvatore
The Companions: The Sundering, Book I

Companions Codex – R.A. Salvatore
Night of the Hunter
Rise of the King
Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf

Homecoming – R.A. Salvatore
Archmage (Forgotten Realms)
Maestro (Forgotten Realms)
Hero (Legend of Drizzt)

The Sellswords – R.A. Salvatore
Servant of the Shard
Promise of the Witch-King
Road of the Patriarch

This is sort of a difficult one for me to write about. Some of you who know me personally may know that I experienced quite a bit of death and grief in 2017, and one of those was a dear friend of mine who introduced me to Legend of Drizzt in the first place a few years back. I was on book 17/30, The Orc King when he passed. I’ve opened and closed this book no less than 15 or so times since his passing in late September and I’ve finally gotten to a point where I can continue with the series, albeit sadly. I’ll always think of him when I hear Victor Bevine’s voice reciting Drizzt’s inner monologues but I feel confident that should I stop reading the series, I’d lose a little part of us that I want desperately to hold onto.

Caster Chronicles – Kami Garcia
Beautiful Darkness (prequel)
Beautiful Creatures have read
Dream Dark: A Beautiful Creatures Story
Beautiful Chaos
Beautiful Redemption

I started this one last year and I really enjoyed the first one. I’ve gotten partway through the second but by the time I finished Beautiful Creatures, I was a little burnt out. Looking forward to starting Beautiful Chaos again soon!

The King Killer Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss
The Name of the Wind
The Wise Man’s Fear

I’m embarrassed to say this was an #epicbuddyread on Litsy and I have not kept up with it at all, I started late and I was so behind in the discussions that I put it down but it’s in my March TBR for sure!

The Enslaved Chronicles – R.K. Thorne
Mage Slave (The Enslaved Chronicles Book 1) have read
Mage Strike (The Enslaved Chronicles Book 2)
Star Mage (The Enslaved Chronicles Book 3)

As described in my recap post, I ADORED this first book and I may have to throw this into my February TBR just so I can continue to follow Aven and Miara through their adventures 🙂

The Elder Scrolls – Greg Keyes
The Infernal City
Lord of Souls

If you know me beyond my posts, you know that I can not get enough of Skyrim. I’m not necessarily an Elder Scrolls fanatic, but a few years ago my brother came home for the weekend from college to visit and while he was here, he installed Skyrim on my computer with the understanding that he would uninstall it before he left. Having missed out on Morrowind and Oblivion, I didn’t think it would interest me at all, but lo and behold, a week later I noticed it hiding in my program files -___- I was hooked within half an hour or so, despite having a Steam library full of games to be played. I’ve wanted to read these books for a while so here’s hoping I can sneak in some fantasy gaming lore in this year amongst the rest of them.

Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars : Ghosts of Ascalon
Guild Wars: Sea of Sorrows
Guild Wars: Edge of Destiny

This has been an intended buddy read between myself and a long distance friend for a year or two now, I’m determined to get this in by the summer!

Orphan X/Evan Smoak – Gregg Hurwitz
Orphan X: A Novel have read
The Nowhere Man: An Orphan X Novel have read
Hellbent: An Orphan X Novel have read

Ahhhh, my daring Evan Smoak. I’ve touched on him already but I have such exciting news! By the time any of you read this, my brother and I will LITERALLY BE STANDING IN FRONT OF GREGG HURWITZ HIMSELF AT A BOOK SIGNING/VODKA TASTING. I’m allergic to vodka so I’ll either abstain or I’ll take some kind of non-drowsy allergy pill beforehand. Mostly I’m afraid that by tasting all these fancy vodkas I’ll develop a taste for fancy vodka and die of anaphylactic shock sometime next week. The things I do for the love of books!

Single Books

Valiant: A Modern Faerie Tale
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) have read

So, it’s not a secret that I am lowkey madly in love with Holly Black and I can’t wait to get my hands on her new book. Also somehow I never got around to reading Valiant, not sure how that is but I threw it in here because the Kaye/Roiben universe feels incomplete without the story. Additionally, I’ve heard such good things about The Nightingale! I love all things French so I’m hoping it’ll be a good read. As for Serena, I wasn’t all that fond of it when I tried to read it the first time. It was almost a bail but I hope it’s just slow to action and later in the year when I pick it up again, I can appreciate it more.

There you have it, my darlings, my overly-ambitious reading schedule for this year! I’m super excited to work my way through the rest of the Drizzt series (as will be my brother because he’s gotten several books ahead of me while I poked around) and there are so many more here that I’m stoked about! Stay tuned for my book signing post, and everyone please pray with me that I do not pee my pants in excitement upon seeing Gregg Hurwitz.

With Love,
Kadie

2017 Recap & Wrap Up

I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked in 2017. Sigh. Life happens, I suppose. That said, I did read some pretty stellar books throughout the year and in honor of my blog launch, I thought I’d kick things off by listing the ones I simply couldn’t put down and a few that I willfully put down, for various reasons that we’ll come back to in a later post. Additionally, 2017 will be the year I remember fondly as The Year I Read A Bunch Of Books Everybody Else Has Already Read. Sorry, Y’all. It’s taken me a while to come around to some of these.

#1: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

First things first, a little note about my absolute favorite book of the year. I grew up in the age of Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Eragon, Inkheart and several others. Most of my peers and I were addicted introduced to YA or children’s fantasy by way of one or more of these lovely series. Here’s the thing, Y’all. I’d only ever read Harry Potter until August of this year. By the time any of the rest of them became popular, I was already waist deep in our darling Rowling’s magical universe and I didn’t have the time nor the inclination for jack else. The Trio was where it was at. #sorrynotsorry

Imagine the shock and awe when, due to some unforeseen events in early August, I found myself sitting in a room with several of my mother’s friends discussing this year’s reads and it came out that I had never read Eragon. It was immediately gifted to me via one of their Audible accounts and let me tell you, I gobbled it up like the last piece of pecan pie at Thanksgiving. I adored that book. Since then, I’ve put the remaining three books in my handy-dandy TBR jar for 2018. I’ll spare you the details, as I may or may not be doing a full review later in the month, but I devoured that book. An absolute must-read for any YA fantasy lover such as myself (although I assume the rest of you have read them and I am just grievously behind the times.)

#2: The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell

Now, I will happily confess that I do almost exclusively audio these days, for reasons related to ADHD and being an auditory learner, amongst my other numerous reasons for listening to audiobooks. Simply put, my attention span is extra garbo and my hands need to be constantly busy, which brings me to my next book. The Dragons Of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell, an Audible exclusive that I blew through in a matter of days. It tells the story of the two Great Guilds in a land called Dematr and their youngest respective members of high standing, Mage Alain and Master Mechanic Mari, coming together against both of their guilds’ wishes and possibly saving the world together. I’m gonna go ahead and give this book a solid 5/5 as Jack Campbell has done an astounding job creating a unique, vividly described fantasy universe for us and MacLeod Andrews has likewise done a stellar job of bringing the story to life and really making you feel like you’re running through burning buildings, plodding through the desert and nearly drowning to escape an explosion right along with Mari and Alain the entire time.

#3 – Mage Slave by R.K. Thorne

This was certainly a different one, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Rarely a day passes when I don’t find elements to a new fantasy universe and think, “Huh. I would never have thought to include that.” That kind of uniqueness is just what makes this book special, and it’s one of the reasons I loved it as much as I did. As much as I admire and love Drizzt’s dancing fighting style and the elven, dwarven and orcish cast of characters and as much as I adore Holly Black’s magical descriptions of faerie banquets and silken dresses and badass warrior faerie knights, there really is nothing quite like an entirely new fantasy world waiting for you to discover. The hint of romance behind all of the danger was just enough too, not so much that the book was sappy but just enough. I urge y’all to read this one, it starts with the kidnapping of a prince of a land called Acaria and incorporates an entirely new form of magic that I’ve never heard of in another YA fantasy book. Highly recommended.

#4 – The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

Gregg Hurwitz is back at it again with another Evan Smoak book, entitled Hellbent, that released last month, but in January of ’17, I read the second installment of what may be my favorite “100% not my thing” book of the year. I’ve never read anything like this before, so, to be honest, I don’t have much to compare to. But I am absolutely loving this series. It’s very 007, very fast-paced, action-packed, all those lovely bookish buzzwords. In the first installment, Evan is plucked from an orphanage by a “handler” at a young age and trained as a government assassin. As an adult, and a deadly AF one at that, he breaks with the program and it becomes clear that he’s being hunted. He works as a pro-bono “Nowhere Man” helping people out of difficult situations. I can’t rave about this dude enough, I adore Evan. Probably my favorite thing about his character is how hard Jack, his “handler” has worked to not only turn Evan into a dangerous weapon but also how much work he’s also put into keeping Evan human. He isn’t a passionless killer, he is a highly skilled, very efficient assassin who carries out his targets precisely and with little to no collateral damage.

#5 – The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Holly Black was my very first non-Harry Potter introduction to YA fantasy. There will always be a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf for this wonderful, vivid author. I picked up Tithe in Roma’s Preread Books in my hometown when I was 12 or 13 and I fell hopelessly in love with a brooding faerie knight and a misguided teenage daughter-of-a-rockstar with somewhat “sticky” fingers. Every Tithe fan knows that Corny is the gay best friend that we ALL need. Since then, I have read the rest of the Modern Faerie Tale books with relish. That said, I discovered that she had a new book out, not with the same characters but in the same general universe and I jumped on it. I checked it out from Libby and finished it in two or three days. I loved this book. I have the usual grievances that the rest of the community seems to, it seemed a little rushed and it did feel like we had just been thrown into the story but apart from that, I adored the book. I couldn’t help but find myself imagining my brother and me in their shoes, delving into the forest to find the bad faeries and taking them down with a clever combination of music and swordplay. Ultimately, this was one of my favorite books of the year.

There you have it, folks. My top 5 of 2017. Stay tuned for my bottom 5 in a later post, along with some other upcoming adventures starring yours truly and maybe a friend or two 🙂

2017recap